UPPER MARLBORO – It was not just a day to recognize not the local members of the armed forces, but also their family members, who have supported their loved ones and carried on life at home during deployment. On May 17, the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County held the Ninth Annual Veterans Appreciation Ceremony […]
UPPER MARLBORO – It was not just a day to recognize not the local members of the armed forces, but also their family members, who have supported their loved ones and carried on life at home during deployment.
On May 17, the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County held the Ninth Annual Veterans Appreciation Ceremony and Muster. The theme this year centered on thanking veterans as well as their family members.
“When someone signs their name on that line, they are signing a blank check to the United States. They are signing a blank check because that’s what they do. Soldiers love their country and are willing to give their life for us,” said Associate Judge Dorothy Engel, whose spouse served in the armed forces. Engel herself was previously in the Army Reserves. “Families, they don’t sign on the line. They are the silent co-signers.”
Engel described the emotional experience of dropping her husband off at the airport, not knowing whether she would see him again.
The soldier boards the plane for their mission, and the family members and loved ones continue living at home.
“That’s when the real work begins,” she said. “That’s when you have to wipe your tears, you pick your chin up, and you take care of business. That’s what military families do. Taking care of business is not the military families themselves, it’s their support groups and those people that get you through.”
Engel recalled two significant moments during her husband’s deployment when she particularly missed her spouse: when a water pipe broke and when their basement flooded.
“You have these catastrophes happen, and you have to figure it out. But, it’s not just the big things, it’s the little things,” Engel said. “It’s those moments when you haven’t heard from your soldier, whether the Internet’s out or the phones are down … All the while you have that fear in the back of your head that a stranger in uniform is going to knock on your door.”
And, for some, their loved ones do not return home.
“To those families, we owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never, ever repay,” she said.
Following Engel’s remarks, the veterans were called individually to shake hands with or to salute Brig. Gen. Richard McGill to receive a medal and certificate and to sign the Muster Book. If a veteran was unable to attend, a family member received these accouterments in their stead.
The ceremony also included the playing of a medley of the different anthems for each of the branches of the military. The veterans stood when their branch’s melody played.
The Circuit Court holds the event to express their thanks for the veteran community.
“It’s our way of having the Circuit Court let our veterans know how much we appreciate their service to our country,” Engel said. “I wish we could do a ceremony every day. Every day we should honor our veterans.”
Correction: a previous version of the article misattributed a quote said by Dorothy Engel.